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Letter from an Artist: Craig Tyrl

Dear Wayward Family!

As we approach the holiday season, our entire company wishes you hope, health, and holiday cheer. 2020 is indeed a year that has changed our lives. Covid-19 has caused the loss of community, the loss of jobs, and most importantly the loss of lives. We extend our prayers to all those suffering in this difficult time.

Additionally, the virus has devastated live theatre. Artists are without work and stages remain dark. As you are aware, our third season was cancelled. As have our fellow theatre companies in Orange County, we have faced an uncertain future and pondered the strategies necessary to survive and thrive. Now more than ever, theatre is redefining its existence. What will theatre look like in this new world of social distancing? How can theatre bring us together safely amidst the virus? How do we make art in this new world? All of us at The Wayward Artist are committed to answering these questions.

We thus are excited to announce our 2021 season with multiple productions exploring IDENTITY. As you will recall, this was to be the theme of our 2020 season. What can you expect in 2021? First, we believe in empowering artists of color, and that brings us to Wayward Voices: an initiative to produce work by and for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) artists. Our mission is committed to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive home for all artists. We are transformed by making BIPOC voices central to our storytelling. We have offered grants to BIPOC artists seeking to produce individual projects. Our selection process is underway. You can look forward to our first event in January. Our Latinx new work Feliz—An American Play by Michael J. Mejia and directed by Rosa Lisbeth Navarrete, premiers in a virtual/online format in April. Under the direction of Brooke Aston, the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee will open in July in a socially distanced outside venue. In September we will explore identity through dance performed outside as a travelling experience of safe immersive theater. The final production to close our 2021 season is yet to be determined. The safety of our artists and patrons will be paramount and determine our approach to each production.

Of course, your financial support is more important than ever. Revenue gained through tickets sales will not return for some time. Donations must offset this loss. We hope you will consider continuing to support us through these challenging times. How can you help? First, join us for some song, dance, and holiday cheer at our online fundraising gala: A Socially Distanced All Encompassing All Holiday Virtual Extravaganza For Everyone But Near No One on Black Friday, November 27th at 4:00 pm on Facebook. Second, visit our silent auction available after Thanksgiving via our Facebook page. Third, make a donation via our website. Fourth, donate your birthday on Facebook. Any support you can offer is much appreciated. With your help, we will survive this pandemic. Thank you for your continued support. Together we will transform our wayward world.

Craig Tyrl

Artistic Director, The Wayward Artist

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